Unitech crisis: SC refuses to pass order on Noida’s plea seeking return of surplus land

The Supreme Court has said that it will pass an order on the Noida Authority’s plea, seeking the return of surplus land from Unitech, after its new board submits a resolution plan

The Supreme Court, on February 10, 2020, refused to pass any order on a plea by Noida Authority, seeking return of 277-acre surplus land, worth Rs 8,000 crores, given to embattled realty firm Unitech Ltd on lease for housing projects which have not been built. The top court told the Noida Authority that it would be appropriate to wait till the newly-constituted board of directors of the company submits a resolution plan for the cash-strapped realty firm.

See also: SC stays sale of HDIL assets to repay dues of PMC Bank

“At present, we cannot allow Noida to walk away with the surplus land, which would not be appropriate. Once the newly constituted board of directors submit a resolution plan, then we will see what to do with the surplus land,” said a bench of justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Noida said that 347 acres of land was given to Unitech by the Authority in three sectors, for construction of housing projects but no construction has been done in a major chunk of the land. He said that thousands of crores of rupees are still outstanding on the part of Unitech to be paid to Noida and the unutilised land be restored to the Authority. The bench said that releasing the land at present may affect the preparation of resolution plan by the board of directors.

 


Unitech crisis: SC accepts centre’s proposal to take over management control

The SC has accepted the centre’s proposal, to take over management control of embattled realty firm Unitech Ltd and complete its stalled projects

January 20, 2020: The Supreme Court (SC), on January 20, 2020, accepted the centre’s proposal, to take over management control of Unitech Limited. The court granted two months’ time, to the new board of Unitech Limited to prepare the resolution framework and said that it would appoint a retired apex court judge, to monitor the preparation of the resolution framework. It also granted a moratorium of two months to the new board of Unitech Limited, from any legal proceedings.

The centre, on January 18, 2020, in a six-page note submitted to a Supreme Court bench headed by justice DY Chandrachud, said it was prepared to revisit its proposal of December 2017, to remove the existing management of Unitech Ltd and appoint 10 nominee directors of the government. The centre, however, said it would not infuse any funds for completion of pending projects of the company. It said the court, while ensuring a period of calm should direct a moratorium for 12 months.

For the proposed board, the government also suggested the name of retired Haryana cadre IAS officer Yudvir Singh Malik, as chairman and managing director of the board and names of members including A K Mittal, ex-CMD of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), Renu Sud Karnad, chairman of HDFC Credila Finance Service Pvt Ltd, Jitu Virwani, CMD of Embassy Group and Niranjan Hiranandani, MD of Mumbai-based Hiranandani Group. It said the court may appoint a retired judge of the Supreme Court for supervising the resolution framework finalised by the proposed board of directors.

It also sought permission for the proposed board of directors to raise funds due from the home buyers, to sell the unsold inventory and to monetise the unencumbered assets, for completion of the stalled projects.

 


Unitech loses property in Noida over Rs 1,203-crore dues

The Noida Authority has cancelled the allotment of a property to Unitech Ltd over pending dues of Rs 1,203 crores and has said that it is planning to reclaim possession of the property located in Sector 113

October 31, 2019: The Noida Authority, on October 30, 2019, said it has cancelled the allotment of a group housing property to crisis-hit realtor Unitech, over non-payment of dues worth Rs 1,203 crores. The property concerned is located in Sector 113, where the real estate group had also come up with 17 towers without getting the map cleared by the Authority, in violation of the Noida Building Regulation, 2010, it said.

“The allotment was cancelled on October 21, on instructions of Noida Authority CEO Ritu Maheshwari, who has directed officials to reclaim possession of the property within 15 days,” the Authority said in a statement. “The non-payment of dues includes those accruing from EMIs, interest, lease rent, and construction delay by Unitech worth Rs 1,203 crores,” it added. The group is also accused of trying to have an agreement to sell 19,181.50 sq metres of land to M/s Sethi Residents and M/s GMA Developers, making them third-party, without seeking the Authority’s permission.

 


NCDRC directs Unitech to hand over possession of flats, give compensation to 33 home buyers

The NCDRC has come down hard on embattled real estate company Unitech and directed them to pay compensation to 33 home buyers, complete construction of the flats within nine months, and hand over the possession to them

September 6, 2019: The country’s apex consumer panel, the NCDRC, has directed Unitech to pay compensation to 33 home buyers, complete construction of the flats within nine months and hand over the possession to them. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has asked the real estate giant to pay compensation to the home buyers at the rate of eight per cent from the date committed for delivery of possession of the apartments, till the day on which the possession would be offered.

It directed the company to complete construction of the flats within nine months and to hand over the possession of those to home buyers in two months of obtaining occupancy certificate. “The opposite party, namely, Unitech Limited shall complete construction of the flats allotted to the flat buyers, in all respects, within nine months from today,” stated NCDRC presiding member VK Jain. The panel also directed Unitech to pay Rs 50,000 as litigation cost to the complainants. It said that any balance payable amount towards the price of the flat shall be adjusted out of the compensation payable to them.

 


Clear Rs 2,743 crore worth of dues or lose land, Noida Authority tells Unitech

The builder was allocated land for developing group housing societies in Noida’s Sector 113 and Sector 117 with dues of Rs 1,203.45 crore and Rs 1,539.84 crore pending against them respectively, said Noida Authority in a statement.

September 5, 2019: The Noida Authority has asked Unitech to clear its Rs 2,743.29 crore dues within 15 days against the land allocated to it for group housing projects or face cancellation of the allotments, officials said on September 4.

The builder was allocated land for developing group housing societies in Noida’s Sector 113 and Sector 117 with dues of Rs 1,203.45 crore and Rs 1,539.84 crore pending against them respectively, said Noida Authority in a statement.

Unitech was issued notices respectively on August 24 and August 30 for clearing the two dues, it said.

“On the plot in Sector 113, the group has also come up with 17 towers without getting the map cleared by the authority, in violation of the Noida Building Regulation, 2010, it added.

Unitech also tried to have an agreement to sell 19,181.50 sq metre of land to M/s Sethi Residents and M/S GMA Developers, making them third-party, without seeking the authority’s permission. This was done in violation of the lease law,î it added.

The Noida Authority said it has sought Unitech’s explanation in these two cases within 15 days besides payment of the pending dues, failing which it would initiate legal action against the builder after issuing recovery notice and cancelling the land allotment.


NCDRC directs Unitech to refund over Rs 1 crore to two home buyers

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has asked Unitech Limited to refund, within three months, an amount of Rs 1,06,57,663 deposited by two home buyers, D Rameshbabu and Swaroop Nandakumar, in the company’s project ‘The Exquisite’ Nirvana Country 2, which was to be developed in Gurugram. It also directed Unitech to pay, as compensation, interest at 10% per annum on the principal amount, for the company’s failure to hand over possession even after a delay of six years.

“The opposite party shall refund the entire principal amount of Rs 1,06,57,663 to the complainants, along with compensation in the form of simple interest at 10% per annum, with effect from the date of each payment till the date of refund,” the commission said. It also asked the firm to pay Rs 25,000 as litigation cost to the two.

See also: Amrapali case: SC orders forensic audit report to be given to ED, Delhi police and ICAI

Nandkumar and Rameshbabu had booked a residential flat with Unitech in 2010. As per the sale agreement, the flat was to be delivered within 36 months of its execution, which means Unitech should have handed the possession over by October 20, 2013. However, even after expiry of the stipulated period and despite payment, they did not get possession of the flat, the two home buyers claimed in their plea.

 


NBCC to take up stalled housing projects of Unitech Ltd, centre informs SC

In a ray of hope for over 16,000 harassed home buyers, the centre has informed the SC that NBCC Ltd was willing to take up the stalled housing projects of the cash-strapped Unitech Ltd

July 30, 2019: A Supreme Court bench, comprising justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, on July 29, 2019, was informed by attorney general KK Venugopal appearing for the centre, that state-owned National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) Ltd was ready to act as a project management consultant, for the stalled housing projects of Unitech Ltd. The top law officer said the centre has proposed a high-powered committee, headed by a former high court judge, to oversee the construction of the stalled projects and the panel can also have a retired technocrat, who would assist it in its functioning.

See also: Supertech promises homes to 14 buyers by December 2019, at UP RERA meet

The bench then asked lawyer Pawan Shree Agrawal, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, to post the proposal of the centre on the home buyers’ portal prepared by him, to enable the home buyers to mail their suggestions to him. The amicus curiae would then collate the suggestions of the home buyers and apprise the court about them, on August 9, 2019, when the court would pass a formal order and may appoint a committee and ask the NBCC to take up the housing projects, the bench said.

NBCC Ltd said it will not do the construction work itself but get the work done through other agencies or private players, to whom the work would be assigned in a fair and transparent manner.

The top court has also sought the names of the persons, including the former high court judge, from the parties for selecting the members of the panel, which has been suggested to be formed to oversee the completion of the housing projects. The bench also said that it would be taking the help of the existing panel, headed by former Delhi High Court judge, justice SN Dhingra, which has been authorised to sell the assets of the real estate firm in the venture, to ensure completion of the projects.

 


Delhi Consumer Commission orders Unitech to refund Rs 9 lakhs to Gurugram-based home buyer

The Delhi Consumer Commission has directed Unitech to refund over Rs 9 lakhs to a Gurugram resident along with simple interest at 10% per annum, for a six-year delay in handing over the possession of an apartment

July 23, 2019: The Delhi State Consumer Commission has observed that home buyers cannot be expected to wait indefinitely for possession of flats, after making payments. The observation came, as it directed Unitech to refund Rs 9,79,326 paid by Gurugram resident Ravinder Midha within 45 days, along with simple interest at 10% per annum, for the six-year delay in handing over the possession of an apartment. “The opposite party (Unitech) is not in a position to offer possession of the flat, it shall be liable to refund the amount with simple interest of 10 per cent per annum (from the date of payment by the purchaser) without any further liabilities,” the commission’s presiding member, justice Veena Birbal and member Salma Noor said. “There is no dispute that Unitech has failed to construct and deliver the possession of the flat till today. The complainants cannot be expected to wait for possession of the flat for an indefinite period,” they added.

According to Midha’s complaint, he had booked a 2BHK flat in Unitech’s ‘Unihomes’ project on May 21, 2011 for Rs 23,80,824, out of which he had paid Rs 9,79,326. He said even after receiving substantial payment, Unitech failed to deliver the possession of the flat to him and he is presently staying in a rental apartment. Midha also issued a legal notice in 2017 to the builder to which no reply was given.

 


NCDRC directs Unitech to refund over Rs 53 lakhs to 2 home buyers

The NCDRC has asked Unitech Limited to refund Rs 1.7 crores to a home buyer and also give compensation of simple interest at 10% per annum, for a 2-year delay in handing over possession of a property in Gurugram

June 7, 2019: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has asked Unitech Ltd to refund, within three months, Rs 53,73,561 and give a compensation of simple interest at 10% per annum to Gurugram residents Abhishek and Mani Agarwal, for a delay of over seven years in handing over the possession of their apartment. “Refund the entire principal amount of Rs 53,73,561 to the complainants, along with compensation in the form of simple interest at 10% per annum, with effect from the date of each payment, till the date of full refund,” presiding member of the apex consumer commission, justice VK Jain said. The commission also asked the firm to pay Rs 25,000 as litigation cost to the home buyers.

See also: Jaypee Sports has 1 month to clear dues or may lose Yamuna Expressway land

The Agarwals had booked a residential apartment with Unitech Reliable Projects Limited, in a project namely ‘Capella’ in Uniworld City, which was to be developed in Greater Noida. According to the allotment letter, the apartment was to be delivered to them by November 30, 2011. However, their allotment was shifted to another project, namely, ‘Unitech Verve’, the possession of which was to be delivered within 15 months, that is, June 29, 2012. Although the real estate giant assured the home buyers of the possession of the apartment, the Agarwals failed to get their house, even after a lapse of more than seven years, after which they filed a complaint.


NCDRC directs Unitech to refund Rs 1.7 crores to a buyer, give compensation

The NCDRC has asked Unitech Limited to refund Rs 1.7 crores to a home buyer and also give compensation of simple interest at 10% per annum, for a 2-year delay in handing over possession of a property in Gurugram

May 15, 2019: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has asked real estate giant Unitech Limited to refund Rs 1.7 crores to a home buyer, for failing to hand over the possession of an apartment. The apex consumer commission has asked the company to refund, within three months, Rs 1,77,95,300 and give a compensation of simple interest at 10% per annum, to Gurugram residents Amal and Minakshi Ganguli, for a delay of over two years in handing over the possession.

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“Refund the entire principal amount of Rs 1,77,95,300 to the complainants, along with compensation in the form of simple interest at 10% per annum, with effect from the date of each payment till the date of refund,” presiding member of the commission, justice VK Jain said. The commission also asked the firm to pay Rs 25,000 as litigation cost to the home buyer.

The Gangulis had booked a residential apartment with Unitech Limited in its ‘The Exquisite’ project in Nirvana Country-2 which was to be developed in Gurugram. They had booked the apartment on March 24, 2014 and the possession was to be delivered within 36 months. According to the allotment letter, the apartment was to be delivered to them by March 21, 2017. Despite the assurance given by the real estate giant, they were not given possession even after a lapse of more than two years, after which they filed a complaint.

 


SC withdraws facilities of jailed Unitech promoters, over non-cooperation

Unhappy with the non-cooperation of embattled realtor Unitech Ltd in the forensic audit, the SC has ordered the withdrawal of all the facilities given to its promoters, the Chandra brothers, in jail

May 10, 2019: Irked over the non-cooperation of Unitech Ltd’s promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, the Supreme Court, on May 9, 2019, ordered the withdrawal of facilities given to the brothers and said that they should be treated like ordinary prisoners, as per the prison manual of Tihar jail where they have been lodged since 2017. In 2017, the apex court had directed the jail authorities to facilitate the Chandras’ meeting with their company officials and lawyers, so that they could arrange the money for refunding home buyers, as well as for completing the ongoing housing projects.

On May 9, 2019, after the forensic auditors told the court that Unitech has not cooperated with them, the top court said it is left with no other option but to order a CBI investigation in the affairs of Unitech. A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah did not order the CBI probe in express terms, but said that it would like to have the assistance of attorney general KK Venugopal on the issue, on next date of hearing. The court said it would also like to hear from the attorney general on whether the government can take over the management of Unitech Group and its subsidiaries, to protect the interests of home buyers. It said the court would also like to have the assistance of the attorney general on the point of whether the government would like to complete the stalled projects of Unitech with the help of central construction agencies, to provide relief to home buyers, who have invested their hard earned money.

See also: SC warns Amrapali that it will give ownership rights of its properties to Noida and Greater Noida Authorities

During the hearing, the forensic auditors told the bench that officials of Unitech were not cooperating in the investigation or providing details and data of transactions, which could enable them to track the diversion of home buyers’ money to other projects. Advocate Pawan Shree Agrawal, who was appointed as amicus curiae in the matter, told the court that the Gurugram municipal corporation had initiated auction proceedings, for selling a property worth hundreds of crores of rupees of Unitech. The bench then said that it was staying the auction proceedings for now, till the disposal of the petition pending before it.

On December 7, 2018, the apex court directed a forensic audit of Unitech Ltd and its sister concerns and subsidiaries by Samir Paranjpe, Partner, Forensic & Investigation Services in M/s Grant Thornton India. The forensic audit has been proposed in various phases, with the first phase focusing on 74 construction projects and the entities of Unitech involved. The amicus curiae appointed in the case has said in its report that out of 74 construction projects undertaken by Unitech, as many as 61 were incomplete and about 16,300 home buyers were involved in these projects.


SC refuses bail to Unitech promoters, in a case relating to siphoning of home buyers’ money

The Supreme Court has denied bail to Unitech Ltd’s promoters in a case of alleged siphoning of home buyers’ money, saying that the developer had failed to deposit the required money in the court’s registry

January 23, 2019: The Supreme Court, on January 23, 2019, refused bail to Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra, in a case relating to alleged siphoning of home buyers’ money. A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said they have not complied with its October 30, 2017 order, which asked them to deposit Rs 750 crores with the apex court registry.

See also: SC orders the construction of 514 flats of Unitech, from auctioned property funds

Lodged in Tihar jail for over one-and-a-half years, the two have sought bail on the ground that they are complying with the apex court order and have deposited over Rs 400 crores. The apex court had, on October 30, 2017, ordered that the Unitech Limited managing director Sanjay Chandra will be granted bail only after the real estate group deposits Rs 750 crores with the registry.

The court was informed that the amount computed for refund to the home buyers may go above Rs 2,000 crores, while there were some buyers who want possession of flats. The counsel appearing for Chandra, had told the court that if they were given liberty, they would monetise their assets and would be able to complete the ongoing housing projects so that the buyers, who intend to have possession of flats, are satisfied. The amicus curiae in the case informed the court that around 9,390 home buyers, out of a total of around 16,000, have responded to him, on the issue of either seeking refund from the builder or getting possession of flats. He said around 4,700 buyers wanted refund.

 


Residents protest outside Unitech’s Gurugram office, over lack of amenities

Over 500 home owners of a Unitech’s project, staged a protest outside the developer’s office in Gurugram, alleging that they were yet to get the occupancy certificate and basic amenities like power, water and sewage connections

January 21, 2019: Over 500 families of a residential society staged a protest outside the office of promoter company Unitech Ltd, on January 19, 2019, alleging lack of basic amenities. The residents, who have been living there for four years, said they were yet to get the occupancy certificate, power connection from Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam and water and sewerage connections from Haryana Urban Development Authority.

See also: SC orders the construction of 514 flats of Unitech, from auctioned property funds

The residents claimed that the promoter company has made alternative arrangements, to provide these facilities but was charging higher fees.

Vikram Bishnoi, the president of the residents’ welfare association, said, “As the project was delayed, many residents forced the management of the promoter company for possession. The company officials have promised to provide us with all basic amenities. Later on, we learnt that they have not connected even sewer and water lines. As a result, things started getting worse. Besides, they have not taken power connection from DHBVN and hence, the entire condominium is running on diesel generator sets.”

Ramesh Chandra, chairman of Unitech Ltd said, “We are in a process of generating funds to the tune of Rs 10.5 crores, to solve these problems. Efforts are on to contact with respective government bodies.”

 


SC orders forensic audit of real estate firm Unitech Ltd

The Supreme Court has ordered a forensic audit of embattled real estate firm Unitech Ltd, which has failed to deliver flats to thousands of home buyers on time

December 10, 2018: A Supreme Court bench, headed by justice DY Chandrachud, on December 7, 2018, asked accounting firm Grant Thornton to carry out a forensic audit of Unitech Ltd and all its subsidiary companies since January 2006. Advocate Brajesh Kumar, appearing for some of the home buyers who have not received possession of flats booked with Unitech, said the court has asked Grant Thornton to give its preliminary report by December 14, 2018. The apex court has also asked the auditor to place before it, the draft terms of audit and timeframe within which it would be completed.

See also: SC orders the construction of 514 flats of Unitech, from auctioned property funds

On July 5, 2018, the top court had asked a panel headed by former Delhi High Court judge SN Dhingra, to proceed with the auction of Unitech Ltd’s unencumbered properties at Agra and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, to refund money to the home buyers.

The court had set up a three-member panel, for the expeditious auction of over 600 acres of land of the real estate firm, for refunding money to home buyers who did not want possession of their homes or flats.

Sanjay Chandra, the managing director of Unitech Ltd, is seeking interim bail from the apex court, after the Delhi High Court, on August 11, 2017, had rejected the plea in a criminal case lodged in 2015 by 158 home buyers of Unitech projects – ‘Wild Flower Country’ and ‘Anthea Project’ – situated in Gurugram in Haryana.

 


Apex consumer commission directs Unitech to refund over Rs 18 crores to home buyers’ association

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked Unitech to refund over Rs 18 crores, along with 10 per cent interest, to a home buyers’ union for failing to hand over the possession of apartments at its Unihomes-3 project in Noida

Novembe 8, 2018: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has asked real estate giant Unitech Limited to refund over Rs 18 crores, to members of a home buyers’ union, for failing to hand over the possession of apartments. The apex consumer commission has asked the company to refund, within six weeks, the amount of Rs 18,84,19,025 deposited by the members of the Unihomes-3 Buyers Union, along with 10 per cent interest, from the date of deposit till the money is returned.

The association comprised of 33 individuals, who had purchased their flats from Unitech in the project called Unihomes-3 in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. “Refund the entire deposited amount paid by the members of the complainant within six weeks from today (November 6, 2018) along with simple interest of 10 per cent per annum from the date of payment of respective amount, till the realisation of the amount,” said the commission. It also asked the firm to pay Rs 10,000 as litigation cost to the association.

See also: Hyderabad HC orders Telangana government, TSIIC, to pay Rs 660 crores to Unitech

The housing project was launched in 2010, with an assurance to hand over apartments within 30 to 36 months from the date of signing of the agreement. The association members had individually applied for different flats in the projects and deposited 90 to 95 per cent of the total consideration amount. However, even after the expiry of the stipulated period, the possession of the flat was not delivered, the association claimed, in its plea.

 

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